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Comment Re:Obligatory Pentax Fanboy Comment (Score 1) 158

Well, if you're trying to keep shutter speed high, I can see the need for that. I've shot plenty of wedding receptions that are painfully dark though - and the majority of the time, the best answer is just off-camera flash, or bounce flash if the situation is right. I'm mainly saying that because a lot of times the camera is physically capable of focusing and I could, in-principle, crank up the ISO and shoot without extra lighting, but in situations like that your colors are so muted and there's so little dynamic range in the lighting environment that the pictures that come out are flat and drab, or schizophrenic and nonsensical depending on the DJ's lighting setup.

Much better to have an off-camera flash or two, slow that shutter down enough to get a hint of motion blur and ambient lighting, but rely on the flash to keep the subject nice and sharp. Some of those scenarios really have been so dark though that I can't actually see well enough to compose a shot very well (I can tell that people are dancing, but can't see expressions, etc) so it really is a "shot in the dark". Thankfully, I still often manage to get some fun expressions and positions. ;)

Everybody has their own style, but for myself I find that all my favorite dark reception hall shots are made with a setup along those lines - and honestly, the wide aperture is more of a hazard than a benefit so I find myself at 4.0 as often as not, because things are moving so fast that getting a razor-thin DOF dialed in exactly where you want it is next to impossible. The off-camera lighting provides the drama and subject isolation that you usually rely on bokeh for.

Comment Re:Obligatory Pentax Fanboy Comment (Score 1) 158

Even with the high iso capabilities of modern dslr's, I've still found situations (not at weddings) where the f/1.4 on my 50mm and 85mm lenses hasn't quite done the job to my liking.

Really? I have a tough time imagining that situation. If you need f/1.4 and ISO 12800 (any modern DSLR should be able to do this passably) things can be so dark that it becomes difficult to compose a shot because you simply can't see. At that point the camera system is rivaling or exceeding the capability of human night vision. That becomes "good enough" in my book, because even if I could get noiseless, focused images with f/1.2 and ISO 52800, I'd just be pointing and clicking in random directions in a pitch black room.

Comment Re:Obligatory Pentax Fanboy Comment (Score 1) 158

My wife is a photographer and I'm her second shooter for weddings - we've got Pentax K-5 bodies (APS-C) and yep, a 17-70mm/4.0 is my workhorse, which translates about the same. She tends to use the 16-50mm/2.8, which is decent but honestly her and I both prefer to have a backup body with a prime. The humble 50mm/1.4 actually does really well, I also really love the FA Limited 31mm/1.8 and the 35mm/2.0 (the best $300 we ever spent on photo gear).

I honestly never feel like there's something I want to do in the context of wedding photography that I don't have a lens for... except maybe that Nikon 200mm/2.0. If I had unlimited cash, that one might convince me to switch brands. But even then, a lot of those exotic lenses end up being gimmicky for wedding work - you use it for a shot or two, but it's too specialized for most situations. After getting the basic fast primes and fast-ish zooms, we really just rent specialty lenses here and there but haven't found any worth owning.

Since we actually try to make some money on this endeavor, we are pretty practical about gear choices. Better to have multiple last-gen camera bodies that can take a beating and provide redundancy than the latest whiz-bang camera that will depreciate like crazy. So I imagine we'll make the jump to the K-1 in a year or two, but at that point there will be an investment in longer lenses as well to account for the changeover from cropped sensor. Digital camera bodies became "good enough" for 99% of wedding situations about 3 years ago, so at this point the extra expenditure for upgrades is hard to justify.

Comment Re:the best way to lie to the public is to use % (Score 1) 990

Work on your statistics. The study says 90% of vehicle-days could be adequately handled by current electrical vehicles and the supporting infrastructure that's currently in place. Not everybody has equivalent driving habits, so assuming that 10% of the time an electric car "won't work for you" is both misleading and outright wrong.

What's important to understand is that there is a distribution of driving habits, which happen to average out to 90%. There are people for whom 0-10% of vehicle-days could be addressed by an electric car (people who drive long distances as part of their work, for instance), and people for whom that number is 99%-100%. For myself, I haven't driven more than 200 miles in a day for the last few years - I travel, but if I go out of the state I fly. As well, we own two cars in my family, so owning an efficient electric car for commuting and a larger, gasoline powered car for long trips would be a practical way to make sure we still had the road trip capability if we needed it.

The correct conclusion from this article is precisely what it states: for 90% of vehicle-days in the U.S., electric vehicles will do the trick. The fact that the number is so high means a couple of other things - there can't be very many 10% drivers in the population, otherwise it would drag the average down... with an average of 90%, there must be a lot of drivers close to 100% to offset each driver with low numbers. In a population of 10, you would arrive at that 90% average by having 9 drivers at 100% and one driver at 0%.

So, the real lesson here is that for a tiny part of the population, EVs never work. For most of the population, EVs always, or almost always work. This is a simple result of the math, and in fact the expectation would be that a typical, median driver would be happy with an EV > 90% of the time.

So really, the best way to lie to the public is for someone like you to use % incorrectly. Using statistics appropriately is no problem whatsoever.

Comment Re:Twister 1996 (Score 1) 260

That might be something different entirely... one early trailer for The Incredibles was almost a short film. It showed Mr. Incredible getting a call on his emergency superhero phone and then struggling to fit his out-of-shape self into his old costume. The scene wasn't in the movie, and it wouldn't have really fit into the plot at all - it just demonstrated the overall theme of the film, and one of the characters.

Or, consider: there was a Deadpool poster that satirically represented the movie as a romantic comedy when in actuality it was a dark comedy/action-adventure, but it was fitting with the character's snarky and prank-oriented disposition.

I'm not sure where you draw the line on presenting films truthfully without significantly constraining the creative freedom allowed in movie advertisements. Trailers are themselves an art form, and sometimes a trailer that doesn't contain a single actual scene from the movie can be extremely effective. Consider also the Deadpool promotional video where he was just laying in front of a fireplace, talking about the movie. Nobody would reasonably expect that such a scene would actually be in the movie.

Comment Re:Unfettered capitalism (Score 1) 639

The DMCA isn't good, but there are lots of farm equipment manufacturers, auto companies, etc that don't sue their customers. The difference between Saab and John Deere in this case is that John Deere is going out of its way to behave in an unethical manner and screw its customers over.

What I'm really arguing against is this subtle subtext that says John Deere's actions are the fault of the government, and that if only the government wasn't around this kind of crap wouldn't be happening. A long history of anti-competitive, anti-consumer behavior by corporations that think they can get away with it says otherwise. Repeal the DMCA, but also create legislation protecting the consumer's right to repair, modify, sell, and otherwise control equipment that they legally purchased.

Comment Re:Data gathering? (Score 1) 174

You should read Charles Stross' "Halting State". Forget data gathering, AR apps can be used to get people to do useful tasks for you, for free! Need someone to scope out a target of interest? Make it an objective in the game for them to take a picture of the area. Need someone to deliver a message or carry information discreetly? Make it part of the game, and give them points when the message is successfully dropped off.

Controlling a popular AR game would allow you to create mobs on demand. This is limited only by the imagination.

Comment Re:Unfettered capitalism (Score 1) 639

No, if the DMCA did not exist, open-market service people couldn't be hauled into court for hacking around whatever DRM Deere were to put on its tractors.

The DMCA doesn't help things, certainly, but nothing is forcing John Deere to abuse the laws and their customers this way. Plenty of unethical corporate behavior can happen even if there isn't a convenient legal framework to take advantage of. My main point is this: a specific piece of law might be contributing to this problem, but that doesn't mean that the solution is deregulation. We've already got a corporation that has demonstrated it will prioritize profit over its customers, and removing regulations, many of which involve consumer protections, isn't the solution. Instead, we need legislation in favor of the consumer, to protect their rights to do what they wish with equipment that they own.

Of course, repealing the DMCA would be a welcome step as well.

Comment Re:Unfettered capitalism (Score 1) 639

The hell are you talking about? Try reading comprehension. The government doesn't prevent anybody from creating a competing business (as evidenced by the fact that there are, in fact, many competitors to John Deere, some of which treat their customers well and make their equipment easy to service). If the government is responsible for anything here, it's that it has failed to hold unethical companies accountable for anti-competitive, anti-consumer practices.

Comment Re:Unfettered capitalism (Score 1) 639

My point is not that competing with John Deere would be easy - it is hard, but not mainly because of anything the government is doing. Sure, the DMCA is shitty, but if it didn't exist John Deere could still design proprietary, closed systems and refuse to sell repair manuals or spare parts. There are lots of corporations out there engaging in similar anti-competitive behavior. What is really needed is better consumer protections that ensure a user's right to modify and repair their belongings regardless of what the corporation wants them to do.

Comment Re: Unfettered capitalism (Score 3, Informative) 639

Enforcing that is your choice as a corporation. You don't have to design proprietary, closed equipment and then prosecute those who try to repair it themselves. As evidenced by the fact that there are manufacturers out there that design open, accessible products that are user-friendly and easy to service.

Comment Re:Unfettered capitalism (Score 2) 639

The laws are written in a way that mostly benefits the corporations and largest businesses - they're being given protection from the upstarts that would swing in and provide cheaper/better/faster solutions by the government.

How? Give me an example of how the government is preventing someone new from competing in the tractor business. Because I've started more than one business, and the government barriers amount to about $50 of registration fees and 20 minutes registering the business online. The far bigger barriers are that John Deere has immense brand recognition, distribution and maintenance infrastructure, manufacturing facilities, and who knows how many other advantages that have nothing to do with the government but mean any competitor is going to have to be extraordinarily well funded to make a solid attempt at disruption.

The natural state of a market is that entrenched players have a massive advantage, and can use that massive advantage to keep any competitors from becoming a threat. When you're talking about manufacturing heavy machinery, this isn't something where any schmo off the street can just start selling tractors without licensing BS. The barriers that exist to competing in this industry have nothing to do with government.

Comment Re:Interesting quote in article (Score 1) 237

ATK, ULA, Orbital, AR, and many others are struggling to adapt to the new market. The thing is, though, for the purpose of these companies, Newspace basically is SpaceX - in a few years the situation may be different with Blue Origin and others, but currently SpaceX is the one and only company that's actually launching payloads for serious customers.

My point is that what separates Oldspace from Newspace isn't just the COTS, fixed-price model. That's a step in the right direction, but what really sets these new companies apart are their ideology - all the older companies exist primarily to turn a profit, and selling aerospace hardware is how they do it, whereas many of the new companies (or at least SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Planetary Resources) exist primarily to make space accessible to the masses, and profit is a means to that end.

Comment Re:Interesting quote in article (Score 1) 237

The difference is:

Old Space = "cost plus" contracts - Whoops, we've gone over the budget, but keep paying us until we're done!

New Space = fixed-price contracts - Whoops, our rocket went RUD from a bad strut, now we have to launch another one without you giving us more money!

Slight correction - on fixed price contracts, the contractor doesn't have to pay when a launch fails - that's covered by insurance either way.

The important thing is that on a fixed price, the launch provider gets more profit if they reduce launch costs and schedules. On cost-plus, the provider is incentivized to have cost overruns and schedule slips.

And more important than all of that is that we have ideologically driven billionaires competing to make space cheaper - SpaceX is tremendously affordable (~25% the price of competitors) not just because of COTS, but because Musk is trying to build all the infrastructure for a Mars colony in his lifetime. A more pragmatic company would be 90% of the competitor's price, and would be sitting back and enjoying the profits rather than dumping them all right back into develpment of insanely ambitious new vehicles.

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